Kerr Cuhulain continues his series "The Plight of the Pagan Policeman";
Hal Mansfield reports on a Pagan festival;
CWR attends a "Satanism Symposium;
The recent horrifying events in Matamoros, Mexico left all of us, Pagan and non-Pagan alike, shocked and sickened. Drug dealers responsible for the deaths of Mark Kilroy and others - some reportedly in rituals -claimed to have been inspired by a Hollywood film, "The Believers", which they watched repeatedly.
When this film first appeared, it was denounced by practitioners of the Santeria faith as being a gross distortion of their religious practices. In recent months, other religious communities of the world have protested depictions of their rites, beliefs, histories and rituals with varying degrees of success. In California, thousands of Christians marched in protest of "The Last Temptation of Christ". Theatres around the country refused to book the film, and those that did were picketed. The Moslem world reacted to Salman Rushdi's book The Satanic Verses by putting a price on the author's head! The Christians and Moslems were either applauded or denounced, depending on the religious views of the observer. The Santerians were ignored or laughed at.
Recent years have likewise seen a whole spate of films which take parts of Wiccan religion and turn them into something NEVER intended. To the uninformed, these are taken as accurate portrayals. Three examples come to mind readily. The first is the film "Ghoulies". In this movie, a teenager finds an old book of rituals and tries to "work" them with his friends. He begins with "casting the circle" from the Gardnerian tradition. When fireworks and Industrial Light and Magick shows don't happen, he throws the book down and stomps off. Later on, little creatures show up and start hunting down the kids. This is NOT what Wiccan Circle casting is intended to do, but the viewers don't know that.
The "Witches Rune", a chant found in many Wiccan traditions for raising energy, is employed in "The Howling II". In the film this chant turns a woman into a werewolf!
Aside from the fact that werewolves are mythological creatures, the use of something from OUR liturgy to do such a thing is abhorrent to us.
Finally, the worst example occurred in a BBC production called the "K-9 Special", a spin-off of the popular British "Dr. Who" series. In this show, an evil coven of "black witches" is practicing human sacrifice. (How many times have we heard THAT one???) As a springboard for this, the producers chose to use one of the most sacred and beautiful rituals in Wicca. In the "Drawing Down the Moon" ceremony, the Priestess becomes the Goddess incarnate within the Circle of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, so that the coveners may communicate with her. This ceremony has NOTHING to do with sacrifices of any kind, and using it for such a purpose is, in the eyes of Witches, nothing short of the most vile blasphemy. This is akin to the outrage felt by Christians and Moslems concerning "The Last Temptation" and The Satanic Verses.
"It's ONLY a movie. Everybody knows it's not real." But everyone DOESN't know it's not real. Disturbed persons don't make this realization. Instead, some utilize the incidents within the movie, book, TV show, etc. to commit acts reprehensible to society. Some DO find inspiration for ritualistic activities in the films of Hollywood. But this cannot be blamed on Witches any more than all Christians can be blamed for the crimes of the Inquisition, or all Moslems for the rampages of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Blame instead Hollywood and the quest for the Eternal Dollar. We would MUCH rather keep our rituals pure. Wicca, like Christianity and numerous other religions is a mystical religion, and not easily understood by un-initiated.
SPECIAL REPORT ON WICCA (WITCHCRAFT) AND PAGANISM
by Hal Mansfield
(Editor's Note: This article is adapted, with permission, from a paper circulated with the monthly newsletter of the Religious Movement Resource Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.)
During the summer, I was invited to and attended a Pagan festival (Dragonfest) located in the Colorado Rockies. The festival included people from all over the United States, with approximately 250 in attendance. I have also talked with numerous other Wiccans and Pagans and done extensive research into Wicca and Paganism.
The following conclusions will, no doubt, be controversial. Keep in mind that the Religious Movement Resource Center does not evaluate belief systems; that task is left to individuals and their own faith communities. We only look at the operational mechanics of an organization or group.
With that in mind, I found that, applying our definition of destructive cults, Wiccan and the Pagan communities do not fall under the definition. This definition can be stated as follows: An organization which inhibits individual freedom of thought through the use of violence, deception, and mind control. The Wiccan communities also do not fall under Dr. Lifton's model of eight points of mind control either; for more detailed explanation of these points, we would suggest reading Dr. Lifton's book, "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalitarianism."
During the four days I was at the festival, I was made welcome and allowed to attend (or not, as I saw fit) anything I wanted to. There was no pressure, guilt, or mass recruitment, and no one was constantly accompanying me unless I asked them to. There were no evidences of autocratic leadership, no mass orgies, no long processions of hooded, black-robed people practicing black arts ceremonies into all hours of the night. Instead, there were workshops, a lot of music, people enjoying the great outdoors, and the rituals were relatively short, brightly colored, and contained no Devil worship (as Satan is not included in their belief system).
A large percentage of the workshops dealt with social issues such as the environment, politics, ethics, and feminism. During these workshops, opposing points of view constantly came up on the issues at hand. Although debate was often heated, no one was put down for expressing themselves or bringing contrasting opinions into the discussions.
Cult-related crime does occur, but we need to be careful not to jump to conclusions and lay blame on groups because of their alternative beliefs. I feel this has happened to a large extent, directed towards Wiccans and Pagans. There are extreme differences between an "alternative religion" and a "destructive cult", and I have found little or no evidence to link Wiccans to occult crime or cult cases we have researched or investigated. The few links are in the adolescent "Do-it-yourself" covens, in which kids beg, borrow, and steal from all sorts of belief systems, books, movies, etc. For more information on this topic, please refer to my discussion paper, "Pseudo- Satanism in School Systems Today" [reprinted in Vol. I, Issue 2 of CWR]. The other area is involving an individual's own pathological behavior; almost all these people call themselves "Satanists". Satanism, whether it's a system made up by individuals, an organized group, or a destructive Satanic cult, is not Wicca or Paganism! There is little similarity between them.
Some skeptics might say that the Pagan/Wiccan community put on a show for me; I would reply that it is highly doubtful that 250 people would come from all over the country, just to put on a show for me! I have interviewed countless numbers of Wiccans and Pagans, and have come to the same conclusions as above throughout the years. This is not intended to be a comprehensive report on Paganism. Wicca and Paganism are too complex to outline in this report.
The final thought is that, when cult crime does occur, rumor and wild speculation are poor substitutes for good research and solid investigation techniques. Each case needs to be handled as unique, not lumped together into one big pot.
As always, when we publish a report of this nature, I invite comments, evidence, and suggestions in support of or in contrast to our findings. Feel free to share this report.
[Editor's Note: You may contact the author by writing to Hal Mansfield, Religious Movement Resource Center, United Campus Ministry at Colorado State University, 629 S. Howes, Ft. Collins, CO 80521.]
PLIGHT OF THE PAGAN POLICEMAN - PART VI
by Kerr Cuhulain
A little while ago, a Fundamentalist Christian tour group from a small town in Georgia checked into a hotel downtown (Vancouver, B.C.). Their tour director registered himself under the name "Roger Moore"; this wasn't his real name, and I don't precisely know why he chose to use it, but you can draw your own conclusions from what follows.
The director next retired to the lounge where he met up with two women and got into some serious drinking. He offered the bartender his credit card to pay for the drinks. This wasn't a very bright move; you see, the bartender routinely checked credit cards to see if they were lost or stolen by taking them up to the front desk. In this process, the bartender discovered that the name on the card was not the name registered to the room. The card, of course, has the director's real name on it. The bartender notified security.
A security person then approached the director and asked him to explain the discrepancy. The director satisfied the security person that the card was indeed his and that he and "Roger Moore" were one in the same. In the process, however, the two women that he had been trying to impress left him for greener pastures.
The director, now a trifle embarrassed, frustrated, and a little drunk, moved over to the bar. He found himself sitting next to three Englishmen who worked for a large engineering firm, one of whom was physically disabled. The director attempted to start a conversation going with them by telling some rather tasteless jokes about disabled people; needless to say, the three Englishmen were not impressed, the handicaped one least of all. The disabled engineer was so upset, in fact, that he left the bar. His friends made remarks to the director to the effect that they were not impressed.
At this point, the director took stock of the situation. In his opinion, these men had no sense of humour. They had English accents and were not Fundamentalist Christians. The director concluded that they must, therefore, be homosexuals. He then made his conclusions known in a very loud voice. The engineers (who were, in fact, heterosexual --not that it matters) took exception to being called "fags" and shouted back at him.
At this point the bartender noticed the commotion, and recognized the director from before. He summoned security again. Security arrived and recognized the director also. The director was asked to leave the bar. He did, but that was not the end of the situation.
One of the two remaining engineers got up a short while later to go to the washroom. Outside of the washroom he found the director, who was spoiling for a fight. The director, seeing that this engineer was quite a bit bigger than him, slunk away. The engineer was so agitated that he forgot to go to the washroom and returned to the bar.
Ten minutes later, the other, smaller engineer went to the washroom. He had been warned by his companion, but found no one waiting outside. A few minutes later, he was washing his hands when the director stepped up behind him and recommenced his verbal attack.
This engineer did not want to listen to the director's ranting, so he tried to push past. The director then struck him several times with his fists, knocking him through the door into the hallway.
Three wedding guests were walking down this hallway minding their own business. Suddenly, the engineer falls out of the doorway in front of them, followed closely by the director. The director grabbed the engineer's ears and kneed him in the head, knocking him out cold. He then adopted a karate stance and informed the stunned wedding guests that he was a "good old boy from Georgia" and would take them all on. The guests fell back and the director strutted to the front desk. There he asked the desk clerk to call the police.
Moments later, my partner and I arrived. I found myself talking to the director while my partner interviewed everyone else involved. Meanwhile an ambulance crew was treating the still-unconscious victim.
The director must have figured me to be another "good old boy". He explained to me how he had been harassed by "faggots" and had his female company chased off by inconsiderate hotel staff. The director told me that he and his group were "God fearing" people and deserved special treatment. He appealed to me as a "good Christian officer" to arrest these "fags".
This was the director's second major mistake. I'm not a "good Christian officer", I'm a "good Wiccan officer". And, being a Witch, I performed a magickal act -- I made the director disappear, into the back of a paddywagon. This "good old Pagan" had the director charged with aggravated assault. Within half and hour, he had appeared in front of an immigration duty officer, still wearing a stunned expression on his face. The immigration officer gave him a notice cordially inviting the director to leave the country within 24 hours or else (to be turned in when crossing the border as proof).
I've never been to Georgia. I can only hope that pompous asses like this Christian tour director are a rarity down there. I think that he must have come from the Church of Do-As-I-Say-But-Not-As-I-Do. I hope that the police officers in Georgia share my views with regards to this type of behavior; hopefully, his Church shares them, too. We can be sure of one thing, however: the director learned an old saying that I learned in the Armed Forces -- "If you assume and I assume, it will make an ASS out of U and ME". He learned it the hard way.
CWR SURPRISES SYMPOSIUM
by Vicki Copeland
Participants in the recent Bob Larson Compassion Connection Satanism Symposium got a bit more than they bargained for when CWR attended. At $95 per head, no doubt they didn't expect any Pagans to be able to afford the admission. Thanks to an anonymous donor, CWR was able to participate.
The symposium was well attended with approximately 500 people registered. According to Larson Ministries, approximately 1/3 of those attending were police officers. Sponsors of the event allowed one officer from each department to attend free of charge. Speakers included Det. Lt. Larry Jones, Of "File 18" and Cult Crime Impact Network, Jack Roper, an "occult crime investigator" of Christian Apologetics Resource Information Services, Bob Larson, host of "Talkback With Bob Larson" radio talk show and author of Satanism, the Seduction of America's Youth, and a panel of teens who are now, or had been in the past, involved with Satanism.
Larson delivered the key-note address and was followed by Jones and Roper. Detailed discussions of their presentations will be given in future issues of CWR. During an excellent lunch, provided with the registration fee, I had an opportunity to sit and talk with several of the other attendees. They did not know who I was, or that I represented CWR, and we had a most enjoyable lunch. I found them to be very concerned with the problems faced by juveniles in connection with drugs and subsequent involvement with antisocial behavior labeled as "Satanism".
After lunch, I was introduced to Det. Jones, who remarked, "Ah, the loyal opposition showed up." My reply was, "Of course. You didn't think I'd let you come this close and not come to hear what you had to say, did you?" He recalled the challenge that "File 18" had issued to those of us who were upset with the material printed in that publication. "File 18" advised those who had differing viewpoints to publish their own newsletters. CWR accepted that challenge. I also discussed the C.H.R.I.S.T. letters with Det. Jones. He said that although CCIN and "File 18" had been blamed for them by various people, those organizations do NOT advocate violence and had nothing whatsoever to do with the aforementioned letters. I was very glad to hear Det. Jones state his position on violence.
When I was introduced to Mr. Larson, he asked that I come up front and sit with the speakers. He later introduced me to the audience and allowed some conversation on CWR's position on occult crime and Witchcraft. This generated many questions from interested parties at breaktime.
"Do you do trance channeling?"
"No, Ma'am. I think it's a bunch of New Age hype."
"Do you do out-of-body travel?"
"Do you use numerology?"
"I've looked at it a bit, but I don't use it actively."
"Then what do you do that makes you a Witch?"
"I'm a priestess of the Goddess and that makes me a Witch."
This dear lady never did understand that being a Witch is something you ARE, not something you DO.
Another lady asked me if I thought I was God. I replied that, no, I was simply a human being trying to do my best.
Two young men from Oregon approached me and asked, " Now you believe that what we believe is wrong, right?"
"Wrong. It's wrong FOR ME. It's right FOR YOU."
They seemed genuinely confused and were shocked when I wished them a safe journey back to Oregon.
Many people came up to tell me they loved me and were surprised when their declarations were met with a smile and a "thank you."
One minister said that he had read many pamphlets on the occult from various Christian sources, and that every one of them said something different. He had been so confused that he finally got some of the Wicca books and read them. I applaud his insight. When he bemoaned the lack of documentation, I handed him a copy of the "Origins of Halloween". He seemed to be glad to have some documented material for a change.
Throughout the rest of the day, I was approached by people who wanted to save me, to thank me, or argue with me, and people who just wanted to talk to a real live Witch. Many of them had never had the opportunity to talk to someone of my faith before, and lines of communication were opened.
Perhaps the most unusual question was put to me as I talked to a group of women. One of them noticed the strand of moonstones I was wearing and asked what they were.
"What do they do?"
"They're pretty rocks. I LIKE pretty rocks."
The lady was confused and I wondered if she expected me to state that they had some mysterious properties, or that they housed the spirit of my dead Grandmother.
Hopefully, I put some new ideas about Witches into many people's heads. Most of those in attendance were trying to find solutions to the problems they see facing their families and communities. It isn't their fault if those that are presenting themselves as "experts" don't give them accurate information. (In future issues of CWR, we will examine the contents of the individual workshops in detail.)
by Rowan Moonstone
SATANISM: THE SEDUCTION OF AMERICA'S YOUTH by Bob Larson Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN 1989
This book, made up mainly of excerpts from the daily talk show, "Talkback With Bob Larson", is a curious mixture of sensationalism and compassion. It is obvious that Larson is concerned for the hurting people who call his show and equally obvious that he is a connsumate showman in the grand tradition of P. T. Barnum.
The first chapter deals with a European tour by the rock group Slayer. Accompanying them, Larson found out that contrary to their "Satanic" stage image, they were just a bunch of musicians, who live on the road much as musicians have for years; wishing they were home, and being tired of motel rooms and motor homes.
Further chapters deal with such infamous cases as Charles Manson and the Night Stalker. The Matamoros murders and the Ricky Kasso / James Troiano case are also mentioned. Larson buys into the theory that all of these are "occult" crimes, despite the evidences that they were "ordinary" crimes with "occult" trappings added on for effect.
Continuing, he denounces television, movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and other "occultic" influences on our society. He also covers the holiday of Halloween and considers it damaging to the youth of America.
Further in the book, readers will encounter instances in which callers to "Talkback" speak of human sacrifices and ritualistic child abuse. I can only wonder if these crimes are reported by Larson and his staff to the law enforcement community.
Larson's section on Witchcraft begins with an account from someone calling herself "Cracinda" who claims that her aim as a Witch is to destroy Christians. This is followed by "Salina" who had participated in human sacrifices.
What is particularly confusing to the reader is the description of Wicca (which is reasonably accurate) that follows. It simply does NOT correlate with the stories that these two young ladies tell.
Larson presents nothing new in the line of books on Satanism. He repeats the same old tired stories of human sacrifice and wild orgies without giving a SHRED of proof that any such thing exists. The standard party line of black metal music, Dungeons and Dragons and horror films is trotted out and revamped with sensationalist accounts from the callers to his show.
Larson DOES exhibit great sympathy for his callers and there ARE a great many teens these days in need of compassion, healing and a friend who will listen. It is a pity that Mr. Larson, who so obviously cares, feels compelled to sensationalize the trauma of those troubled teens.
NEWS FROM OKLAHOMA
A 1915 Oklahoma law threatens the spiritual and religious freedom of psychics, spiritual healers, metaphysicians and others. In response, persons in metaphysical communities across Oklahoma, as well as other outraged individuals have banned together to form the "Committee for Spiritual Freedom, Inc." which is concerned with the possible abridgement of 1st Amendment Rights of "persons, pretending or professing to tell fortunes by the use of any subtle craft, means or device whatsoever" and may be directly or indirectly charging or "receiving gifts, donations or subscription by any means whatsoever for the same" causing them to be subject to conviction of a criminal act in Oklahoma. Fines of between $50-$500 could be levied, along with jail terms running between 30 days and six months.
The groups attorney, Cecil G. Drummond, from Tulsa, feels the law could be construed to include prophecies made by ministers using biblical texts relating to future events, meteorologists foretelling future weather events, and others who predict future occurrences on a variety of subjects. Drummond is filing a petition to the Oklahoma Federal District Court requesting an injunction against the enforcement of state law until it can be determined as to whether or not it is constitutional.
ENGLISH SATANISTS DECRY ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES
In the current copy of Dark Lily (Issue #8), an English newsletter published by and for Satanists (repeat, not Wiccans), the editor writes that Dark Lily has "had to discontinue our exchange advertising with [two other Satanist newsletters] in view of their Editors' expressed support for the criminal activity known as pedophilia. I am not attempting to place DL in the uncomfortable position of arbiter of sexual mores, but such activity is not only illegal, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Occultism and could actually impede one's development, as has been explained in DL and in lengthy correspondence with [the two newsletters]."
It appears that Wiccans are not the only "alternative religion" that is against illegal activities.
CHANGES AT CWR
Due to the pressures of personnal life, Gerald Bliss has resigned from the staff here at CWR. We would like to take this space to thank him for the work he has done in the Lady and Lord's names and wish him well in his new endeavours.
CultWatch Response is published by CultWatch Response, Inc., a non-profit Corporation under the laws of the State of Colorado. We publish many original works in the interest of supplying law enforcement officials with information on the Craft in the United States and Canada; we also republish (with permission) articles from other sources.
Each issue is distributed to our mailing list, including subscribers, contributors, and major law enforcement officers. We encourage groups and individuals to republish each issue for the purpose of distribution to police, media, and community organizations in their area.
We welcome articles, reviews, etc. We do ask that our contributors not UNFAIRLY promote any race, cultural group, either sex, or any magickal group or tradition above another. We emphasize careful research and/or well thought-out opinions, and will not consider articles suggesting harm to anyone or anything.
CultWatch Response, Inc., is supported only by subscription revenues and sales of our booklets and brochures; any shortfalls are made up from the pockets of Board members. CWR is not supported by any religious, political, or business group. We are in the business of promoting understanding about and among the Craft, making it safe for responsible people to practice their chosen religion.
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CLIPPING LIST AVAILABLE
CWR is now making available Rowan Moonstone's list of newspaper and magazine clippings dealing with Witchcraft and "occult related crimes". The listing runs 43 pages and covers over 1,000 articles. See coupon below for details on ordering.
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